The leadership of the American Medical Association appeared to agree with several concepts President Barack Obama outlined in his address to its House of Delegates meeting, and they also warned about not putting labels on these concepts until details emerged.
Announcing that the organization is open to discussing whatever healthcare reform options are in play, AMA President Nancy Nielsen cautioned against using loaded terms such as "government-run healthcare" before Obama's plans are allowed to take shape.
Obama received several standing ovations, including when he mentioned strengthening the nation's primary-care system and working on real medical liability reform that would allow doctors to discontinue practicing defensive medicine. Obama received some mild boos, however, when he reiterated that he was still opposed to caps on malpractice payouts.
Nielsen said she wasn't surprised by that because that has been his position all along, but she said she was pleased with what Obama said and noted that he was the first Democratic president to speak seriously about malpractice reform. She said the only real immediate deal breaker would be any proposal that takes the power to make medical decisions away from patients and their doctors.
Putting his plan in the simplest terms, Obama said he is seeking to "Fix what's broken, and build on what works," specifically mentioning Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Tallahassee (Fla.) Memorial HealthCare, Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa., and Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, as "islands of excellence" whose models need to be duplicated.